Integrating SUD Services with Health Care: the ATTC Network's Role

October 29, 2014
Maureen Fitzgerald
Communications Coordinator
ATTC Network Coordinating Office

There’s a new feature on the ATTC website that we hope you’ll take time to explore:
ATTC Network: Advancing the Integration of Substance Use Disorder Services and Health Care.
This section marks the launch of a new ATTC initiative that has two primary goals:
  • Ensure that efforts to integrate behavioral health care with physical health care include SUD services
  •  Build recognition of the ATTC Network as a vital national resource for disseminating evidence-based practices for SUD services in integrated care settings
An ATTC Issue Brief featured in this section gives an overview of Network plans to meet these goals. The Brief sets the stage for our effort to facilitate the integration of SUD services with health care. Promoting SUD service integration will also be the focus of a national meeting coming up in November, the ATTC Network Forum
Here’s a quick summary of the Issue Brief:

It starts by scanning the current landscape for integration of SUD services with primary care. With full implementation of the Affordable Care Act more people than ever before have access to coverage for behavioral health conditions. While efforts to integrate mental health with primary care are advancing, early signs suggest that SUD treatment is not getting sufficient attention in integrated care settings. The ATTC Network has the experience and training resources to ensure that SUD services are fully included in integration efforts.

The Brief continues with a description of the  ATTC Network Forum, where representatives from each of the 14 ATTC regional and national focus area centers will gather with other health leaders from across the country to discuss:
  • What we know today about integrating SUD services with primary healthcare;
  • Workforce development needs for people who work in integrated health care and SUD services settings, including pre-service education and clinical supervision needs; and 
  • The Network’s role in facilitating the integration of health care and SUD services.
The Issue Brief also gives a summary of a series of authoritative reports or “white papers” that Network workgroups are developing to kick start discussions on SUD services integration. The white papers will cover topics the workgroups have identified as essential to successful integration of SUD services: 1) evidence-based practices used in integrated health care settings to address SUDs; 2) preparing students to work in integrated care settings; and 3) ensuring high quality care for people who have, or who are at risk of developing, SUDs through clinical supervision.

As the Issue Brief states, the ATTC Network has a unique opportunity to address the gap in substance use disorder services in integrated health care settings and to direct the national dialogue to ensure that SUD services are included as an essential component of all integration efforts.

Join the Conversation
We’ll be keeping you updated on our efforts to promote SUD service integration with health care in the weeks and months ahead—check the ATTC website regularly for updates.

You can also be part of this national dialogue by participating in the ATTC/NIATxNetwork of Practice. There you’ll find a new discussion forum titled “Advancing Integration.”  What has been your experience so far with integrating SUD services and primary care, and what have you identified as the key workforce training needs?  Log on today to share your views.

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